Frisco, Colorado

Known as the base camp for adventure, Frisco is a four-season destination housing the White River National Forest, Dillon Reservoir, and famous Ski Resorts like Breckenridge, Keystone, Arapahoe Basin, and Copper Mountain. But before the mountains gave way to the tourism market, they were ample suppliers of silver, giving Frisco its humble beginning as part of Colorado's Silver Boom. Be transported back in time with a walk among the historic buildings in the downtown that are open to the public as part of the Frisco Park Historical Museum, or check out Sapphire Point Outlook to see some of the best views of the mountain landscape that Frisco is known for.

Geography And Climate Of Frisco

Aerial view of a winter wonderland sunset in Frisco, Colorado
Aerial view of a winter wonderland sunset in Frisco, Colorado. 

Frisco is a small home rule municipality situated in Summit County in the central portion of the US State of Colorado. Frisco is situated to the west of the capital city of Denver and east of Vail. The town covers a total area of 4.609 sq. km, of which 0.278 sq. km is covered by water, and 4.331 sq. km is occupied by land. Frisco is found west of the Continental Divide. This divide follows the Rocky Mountains through North America to the Andes Mountains in South America. Frisco sits on the Dillon Reservoir, an artificial reservoir that diverts water from the Denver area and the Blue River under the Continental Divide into the South Platte River. 

With a continental subarctic climate, Frisco has four seasons, which include snowy winters and comfortable summers. Over a year, Frisco collects 127.6 days of precipitation. The town receives an annual rainfall of 500.38mm and snowfall of 4048.76mm. The year's warmest month is July, with an average high of 23.6 °C, while the year's coldest month is January, with an average low of -15.7 °C.

History Of Frisco

Frisco, Colorado welcome sign on a winter day
Frisco, Colorado, welcome sign on a winter day. 

Before the land became a bustling miner community, it belonged to the Ute People. Between 1810 and 1840, the first settlers in the area were known as “mountain men” who trapped beavers for their fur. The settlement of “Frisco” was founded in 1873 by Henry Recen, and its name is a combination of 3 words using the following: (FR)ancisco, St. Lew(IS), and (CO)mpany to make Frisco. The silver boom arrived in 1879 and was the second-largest mineral rush in Colorado’s history, with the gold rush occurring in 1858. It was primarily driven by the silver purchases authorized by US Congress in 1878. As such, 1882 saw the first permanent buildings in Frisco with hotels, saloons, a jail, a log chapel, and the expansion of the railroad. The silver boom would last into the 20th century, and by the time of the Great Depression of 1930, many mining towns were going bust and were left to be ghost towns. With a population of just 18 inhabitants, Frisco was able to survive through ranching. Local rancher Bill Thomas gave out his land plots in return for cabins being built for permanent residents. The population increased to 50 by 1946. The 1960s saw a tourist boom when the ski industry took off in Frisco with the opening of Breckenridge Ski Resort.

The Population And Economy Of Frisco

Main Street, Downtown Frisco, Colorado
Main Street, Downtown Frisco, Colorado. 

Frisco has a population of 2,913 inhabitants and a population density of 673 people per sq. km. Moreover, Frisco has a median household income of $88,899 and a gross monthly rent of $1,757. The average age of a resident is 49 years old. On the cost of living index, Frisco rates at 166.3, whereas the state of Colorado is 121.1. Yet, 5.62% of the population lives below the poverty line.

The unemployment rate in Frisco is 7.3% higher than the US unemployment rate of 6.0%. The top industries are retail trade at 18.9% overall, Accommodation and food services at 16.5%, and construction at 15.2%. Vail Resort Inc, Breckenridge Grand Vacations, and Copper Mountain Resorts are among the largest employers. Vail Resort Inc, which owns Breckenridge Ski Resort and has a portfolio of 40 ski resorts, employs approximately 7,100 employees, and generates a revenue of $2.0 billion. 

Attractions In Frisco

Sapphire Point Look Out

Scenic view of Dillon Reservoir from Sapphire Point Overlook
Scenic view of Dillon Reservoir from Sapphire Point Overlook. 

Nestled between Keystone and Breckenridge Mountain is the Sapphire Point Lookout. At an elevation of 2,895 m, Sapphire Point Look Out offers some of the best views of Dillon Reservoir, Tenmile Mountain, and Gore Mountain. Sapphire Point Outlook is a part of the White River National Forest. The outlook can be accessed from Swan Mountain Road and can be reserved in advance for a private gathering. The area is known for hiking, birding, picnicking, and photography.

Frisco Historic Park Museum

Frisco Historic Park Museum is a series of 13 historic buildings in Frisco's downtown, including the Schoolhouse Museum, the log chapel, saloon, jail, and trapper's cabins, to name a few. The purpose is to preserve local history through artifacts, vintage photography, and exhibits. There is no admission fee, and visitors are free to walk among the historic buildings that make up the iconic downtown. 

Breckenridge Ski Resort

Breckenridge Area in winter
Breckenridge Area in winter. 

Breckenridge Ski Resort is located inside the White River National Forest, which welcomed its first skiers in 1961. Further, in 1967 the resort added its sixth chair lift, expanding into alpine skiing. Breckenridge struggled to stay afloat in the winter of 1980 when snow drought impacted all ski resorts in the area that saw snow-making machines installed in 1981. By 1988, 1 million visitors had passed through the resort. Moreover, Vail Resort Inc. purchased Breckenridge and nearby Keystone Ski Resorts in 1996, adding to its portfolio of notable ski resorts. The highest ski lift in North America was installed in 2005 and was called the Imperial Express Chairlift, towering at 3,913 m. Today, Breckenridge is one of the most recognizable ski resorts in the United States. More so, Breckenridge attracts thousands of visitors to Frisco with the allure of top-notch skiing. It is a family-friendly attraction that goes beyond serving winter activities and serves as a premier hiking and mountain biking destination in the summer.

The mountains that are the backdrop of Frisco were once the hunting ground of the Mountain Men trappers. Alas, this was short-lived with the drive of silver prices and the allure of the mineral-rich peaks. With a booming economy came a bustling downtown, such as the first log chapel. Today, Frisco is a thriving four-season destination, from summer activities on Dillon Reserve to the nearby White River National Forest. However, the ski hills have made Frisco known as a famous winter wonderland with Arapahoe Basin, Breckenridge, Keystone, and Copper Mountain at its doorstep. Known as the gateway to outdoor adventure, there is much to see and do in Frisco, Colorado.

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